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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Celebrate Pasta!

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Happy World Pasta Day!  


I'm a lousy cook & as the saying goes, I could burn water.  Except I don't have the patience to burn anything.  My meals tend to be more on the raw side.  But raw pasta is "al dente" so the family can't complain about another meal gone awry.  A great reason to love pasta!

Another reason to love pasta is it gives you an excuse to drink a bottle of Chianti.

And yet another reason to love pasta - it still tastes good a day or two later.  And that's a good thing because...  shh..... don't tell, but I actually celebrated World Pasta Day a few days ago.  Sadly, I'm at work today, not drinking wine with my left over pasta.  But the fact that it still tastes good, even without the Chianti, is a great example why we should celebrate.

In case you are wondering, no, I didn't forget to add the sauce.  Rather than the standard tomato sauce, I used garlic flavored olive oil.  (I'm hoping the garlic will keep the zombie clowns away from me while I'm at work.  Garlic does work on zombies as well as vampires, right??)  

Anyway... my olive oil "sauce" is so simple to make.  Just chop up a few garlic cloves (I use anywhere from 2 to 5 depending on size, what I have on hand & my energy level at the time) and add them to about a quarter cup of hot olive oil.  Cook & stir frequently & turn off the heat before the garlic browns.  If I can remember to save it, I add a few tablespoons of pasta water to the olive oil & stir that around.  If the spouse is home, I run the olive oil mixture through a sieve to remove the garlic chunks.  If he's not home, I leave the chunks in it.  Add the sauce to the pasta, salt heavily (pasta ALWAYS needs more salt) and stir.  Voila!  Dinner in under ten minutes.  Just another reason to love pasta!

Besides World Pasta Day, there's been all kinds of other exciting news in my world.  First, I finally got around to blocking my Allegro sweater.  


Granted, it may be next fall before it dries completely.  I obviously did not do a very good job squeezing the water out of it before blocking.  Honestly, I'm starting to worry that it may mold before it dries.  Good grief!  But hey, at least it's one less item on my very lengthy to-do list, and that folks, is pretty dang exciting!  

The next exciting bit of news is....


My plant is still alive!  It's survived a whole week!  It's a miracle!  Every year when we go pick our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, I buy a bush.  Every year, that bush dies a few days or weeks later.  Obviously, my gardening skills are even worse than my cooking skills.  I know, I know.  What kind of southern woman can't cook or garden?  Me, apparently.

I have high hopes for this bush though.  And look, it has the prettiest purple berries.


Well, that's about it for the news.  I know, I lead a pretty exciting life, right?  

Hope you're having a happy World Pasta Day.  Wish me luck battling the zombie clowns at work.  Good grief, those things give me the willies!

Friday, October 24, 2014

How to make a bologna sandwich

Happy National Bologna Day!



I'm not a picky eater but there is only one way to properly make a bologna sandwich.  First, you need cheap, white, store-bought bread.  No wheat, no homemade, no fancy bread will do.  Next, you slather on mayonnaise (Hellman's of course) on one piece of bread then you wipe your spreader off on the other piece of bread.  Next, a dab of mustard (spicy brown is best but yellow will suffice) on the slice of bread that got the left over mayo wiped on it.  Then, a slice of American cheese goes on the slathered mayo slice of bread while the bologna goes on the slice with the mustard.  If you get that backwards & accidently let the cheese touch the mustard, you must feed it to the dogs & start over with fresh, untainted ingredients.  When you have the cheese laying on the mayo & the bologna laying on the mustard, you put the two together, slice it diagonally (because everyone knows that sandwiches cut straight across the center taste funny) and enjoy!  And that's how to properly make a bologna sandwich.


In knitting news, I started the Eclipse shawl last night.  After casting on the required 400 stitches in the main color then realizing I was supposed to have used the contrasting color....  I decided to copy the pattern into my knitting journal using two different colored pens, each representing a yarn color.     I think this is going to be a tremendous help in keeping me straight on when to change colors.  (I might have a slight problem with paying attention to details like "change to CC.")

Anyhow, despite the rough start, I'm loving Eclipse.  Other than a little bit of counting (that you can do in advance & all at once & use stitch markers to keep up with) the shawl is basically mindless garter stitch.  It's a great project for scary, Halloween-is-coming type movie watching.

I think I love my choice of yarns as well as the pattern.  I know I love the yarn itself, I'm just not 100% sure about the colors I chose.  The yarn is Unplanned Peacock's superwash meriono Peacock Sock in the Lichen & Ferrum colorways.  I bought the yarn (& pattern) at the Montpelier Fiber Festival and in the shade of the tent, the Lichen was a much grayer green.  The grayish green & burgundy red were slightly Christmasy but more Autumn-ish than Christmasy.  At home, in bright sun, there's no Autumn about them.  They scream, "I'm a Christmas wrap."  But then, by evening, the two colors are back to showing off their autumn hues.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the final product won't look too Christmasy to wear anytime other than December.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday - The Pumpkin Patch

It's TBT & in celebration of our annual trek to the pumpkin farm...


That's a 2001 shot of my daughter, Sarah, on the left, my son, Zack, on the right & their friend, Lorane, in the middle on a wagon ride at the "The" pumpkin patch, other wise known as Mt. Olympus Farm.   We've bought our pumpkins from Mt. Olympus every year since.  It's tradition.  Zack & Sarah are almost-adults now (almost 18 & almost 20) but they still love going to the pumpkin patch to pick their own pumpkins.  Zack even rearranged his work schedule so that he could go this year.  I like to think it's because they like hanging with their mom, but I have the sneaking suspicion it's more like they know Momma's buying.

So, that's our pumpkin picking tradition.  What's yours?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Silly dog


Max always looks so silly (or slightly terrifying) when he lays on his back & hangs his head over the edge of the couch.

I finished the Monarch shawl while I was at work over the weekend.  One full day ahead of schedule, I'll have you know!


It obviously needs to have the loose ends woven in & a good blocking.

I finally got around to blocking the Ladder scarf.  I love the subtle, manly browns & grays of the yarn.


Here's a picture of the stitch detail:


The scarf was knit with Knit Picks' Chroma in the Fossil colorway on #5 needles & I only used one skein of yarn.  The stitch pattern was a simple, two row repeat of multiples of 8 + 3 stitches.  The pattern is:

  • Row 1:  K1, Sl1, *YO, K2, SK2P, K2, YO, K1,* K1
  • Row 2: K1, Purl across to last stitch, K1

Meanwhile, more deer have come to visit.


I never realized what big ears deer have.  They look like they could fly.  Maybe they really are Santa's reindeer.

And yes, this photo shamed us into mowing the grass.  I guess it had been a while.  :(

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Bad Hair #5

It's TBT & the fifth & final bad hair photo I'll show you.



Not even going to try to describe what was happening in the photo.  Just saying that I must have been reaching for God with those poofed up bangs.

In knitting news, I finally finished the ladder scarf.  


I haven't blocked yet.  At the moment, I'm counting finishing it as a monumental event.  I'm not sure why I didn't enjoy that project.  The yarn was lovely & the pattern was easy to remember.  I'd say it was due to the dull grays & browns of the yarn, except I seem to be into grays & browns at the moment.  Maybe it was just because it was five feet of the same two rows being repeated.  Whatever.  It's done.  Well, except the blocking....

Can you tell I enjoy blocking almost as much as I enjoy scrubbing toilets?  It's one of those tasks that you never ever want to do but you're so glad you did it when you're done. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dasher & Dancer

It's only October but the reindeer are fattening up in preparation for their annual journey.


Okay, so maybe they aren't reindeer, but they are certainly fattening up.  In our yard.  Just steps away from our front door.  And our barking, snarling dogs.  Our dogs do not appreciate interlopers in their yard, even if the interlopers might be Santa's helpers.

That was yesterday.  Today, it's pouring down rain & I'm celebrating the rainy day by watching Paul Walker movies & knitting.


Normally, it would be Buffy re-runs and knitting but a new Paul Walker movie popped up on Netflix and, well, who can resist Paul Walker?  Certainly not me.

The Monarch shawl is coming along nicely.  I probably shouldn't jinx myself by saying this, but it's progress is right on schedule.  I only have to knit two green stripes per day in order to finish it by Monday.  Thankfully, the shawl's color is slightly off in that picture.  In real life, the blues & greens are deeper & less shiny looking.  Apparently, Paul's radiance was casting a weird light.  But who cares. Paul can do anything he wants.

Well, those green stripes aren't getting any shorter so I better get back to them instead of blathering on about my TV boyfriend.  I'll leave you with a shot of Vixen.  Okay, okay, okay - it's Vixen's wife.  What ever.  She was close enough to lean over the porch railing and pet.  Isn't she beautiful?


Sunday, October 12, 2014

I love my job!

Have I mentioned how much I love my "day" job?  The job that's actually at night?  The job where someone direct deposits a paycheck into my account every few weeks?  I LOVE my job!  Know why?


Yep, at work, I can read & knit with my feet propped up.  And it's not even a knitting related job.  It's a job at the local theme park.  And apparently, I can even sport super awful manicures.  (That's four week old glow in the dark nail polish that actually glows in the dark & scares me each night when I cut the light off to go to bed.  You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but nope.  It still startles me each & every night.)  But back to how much I love my job....  Yes, we all bitch & moan about the long hours, the late nights (more like mornings,) having to walk around in the rain & once last year, sleet & snow.  It's hot.  Really, really hot.  Except when it's cold.  When it's cold, it's freezing.  But the people are great, the employee cafe is better than expected and have I mentioned - I can knit & read.  I can knit & read my own personal stuff while I'm at work.

My job covers three different areas & each day I get assigned to one of those areas.  Mostly, I'm assigned to being "Banker" which means I spend eight to ten hours in a little room all by myself.  I think I'm Banker so often because I tend to complain, loudly, about being either hot or cold & when they send me off to that little room for the evening, they don't have to listen to me complain.  Whatever.  I love being Banker.  The Banker's job has short periods of crazy, frenzied work mixed with hours and hours of absolutely nothing to do time.  In other words, knitting time.  Oh yeah, I love my job!

By the way, that's the hen sock.  The next time I'm the Banker, that sock will be seeing a heel.

Oh, and I'd like to personally thank Jilliane Hoffman,  author of Pretty Little Things for making me cry at work.  The book was a suspenseful, can't-stop-reading page turner.  But that last page, phew!  That last page was a tear jerker.